A South Carolina valedictorian garnered wild applause after he ripped up his pre-approved speech and delivered the Lord’s prayer at his high school graduation on Saturday.
The act was apparently in protest of the Pickens County School District’s decision to no longer include prayer at graduation ceremonies, Christian News reported. Officials said the decision was made after the district was barraged with complaints by atheist groups.
But that didn’t stop Roy Costner IV of Liberty High School. He ripped up his graduation speech for all to see, before he started talking about his Christian upbringing, Christian News reported.
“Those that we look up to, they have helped carve and mold us into the young adults that we are today,” he said. “I’m so glad that both of my parents led me to the Lord at a young age.”
“And I think most of you will understand when I say…” he paused. “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name…”
The auditorium began to erupt with applause and cheers.
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” he continued. “For Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.”
“The bottom line is, we’re not going to punish students for expressing their religious faiths,” he told Christian News. “He’s a graduate now. There’s nothing we can do about it, even if we wanted to.”
Attendee Logan Gibson told reporters that he thought “it took a lot of courage” to do what Mr. Costner did, Christian News reported.
As of noon Wednesday, a YouTube video of the exchange had received almost 45,000 views.